Friday, June 21, 2013

28: Ștefan cel Mare

Ștefan cel Mare, or in English Stephen the Great, was the ruling prince of a region known as Moldavia during the late 1400s, a principality that encompassed most of which is present day Moldova. At this point in history in which he lived the Ottoman empire was trying to expand its hold into Europe but didn't find much success when it came to trying to conquer Moldavia. Ștefan is said to have won 46 out of the 48 battles he was in and after winning he would build a church or monastery on the site of the battle. It was because of this tendency that he would be labeled a defender of the faith and is now considered to be Saint Stephen. 

Ștefan is such an important figure in Moldovan culture and history that there is a street named after him in almost every village, town and city in Moldova in addition to a monument of some type devoted to him. Even on the Moldovan money the only person depicted on every denomination of bill is Ștefan cel Mare.

It's also fun to note how small the money is here in Moldova. Which is also true of the coins. 

And while Ștefan is not very well known outside of Romania and Moldova you might have heard of his cousin who was the ruler of Transilvania, Vlad Dracula, also known as Vlad the Impaler. And while Vlad Dracula is indeed worthy of the designation of being the impaler there is very little about his life that would give rise to myth of vampires other then Bram Stoker choosing to use his name while writing his novel Dracula.

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